NBCUniversal announces Peacock streaming service, set to debut in 2020

September 17, 2019


The following is a press release from NBCUniversal:

NBCUniversal today announced “Peacock” (www.peacocktv.com) as the name for its new streaming service. Peacock is a nod to NBC’s iconic logo and NBCUniversal’s rich legacy of creating beloved films, TV series, characters and franchises that have been at the epicenter of pop culture and will continue to define the future of entertainment.

Peacock will deliver a world-class slate of originals while also offering treasured hits from the vaults of NBC, including “The Office” and “Parks and Recreation,” two of the most-watched streaming series. The service will also feature blockbusters and critically-acclaimed films from Universal Pictures, Focus Features, DreamWorks Animation, Illumination and Hollywood’s biggest studios. In addition, Peacock will tap into NBCUniversal’s unmatched ability to deliver a broad range of compelling topical content across news, sports, late-night and reality.

Peacock rolls out in April of 2020 with over 15,000 hours of content and takes center stage at the end of July during the 2020 Summer Olympics. As previously announced, Peacock will be both advertising and subscription supported. Details on pricing and distribution will be announced closer to launch.

“The name Peacock pays homage to the quality content that audiences have come to expect from NBCUniversal – whether it’s culture-defining dramas from innovative creators like Sam Esmail, laugh-out-loud comedies from legends like Lorne Michaels and Mike Schur, blockbusters from Universal Pictures, or buzzy unscripted programming from the people who do it best at Bravo and E!,” said Bonnie Hammer, Chairman of Direct-to-Consumer and Digital Enterprises. “Peacock will be the go-to place for both the timely and timeless – from can’t-miss Olympic moments and the 2020 election, to classic fan favorites like ‘The Office’.”



Peacock will offer a broad slate of original dramas, including “Dr. Death,” based on the true-crime podcast starring Jamie Dornan, Emmy and Golden Globe® winner Alec Baldwin and Golden Globe winner Christian Slater; a reboot of the critically acclaimed and award-winning “Battlestar Galactica,” from Golden Globe® winner and Emmy-nominated “Mr. Robot” and “Homecoming” EP Sam Esmail; “Brave New World,” based on the dystopian novel by Aldous Huxley and starring Alden Ehrenreich (“Solo: A Star Wars Story”) and Golden Globe® Award nominee Demi Moore; “Angelyne,” a limited series from Golden Globe® Award nominee Emmy Rossum; and “One of Us Is Lying,” based on the New York Times best-selling young adult mystery-thriller.



The platform’s new original comedies include “Rutherford Falls,” co-created by Emmy and Peabody Award-winner Mike Schur, Ed Helms, and Sierra Teller Ornelas, and starring Ed Helms; “Straight Talk,” from Emmy® Award nominee Rashida Jones and NAACP Image Award® winner Jada Pinkett Smith; reboots of two beloved series – “Saved By the Bell,” from Emmy® Award winner Tracey Wigfield (“30 Rock”), featuring original cast members including Elizabeth Berkley and Mario Lopez, and “Punky Brewster,” starring Soleil Moon Frye as a grown-up version of her former character; an all-new season of “A.P. Bio,” starring Glenn Howerton and Patton Oswalt; and the second movie spinoff from the long-running series “Psych.”



Peacock will feature a broad array of the most-talked-about unscripted programming, including a new “Saturday Night Live” docuseries, “Who Wrote That,” from creator Lorne Michaels, exploring the famous personalities in front of and behind the camera; an original talk show series from Jimmy Fallon, in collaboration with Matador Content and Universal Television Alternative Studio; a weekly late night show starring Amber Ruffin and executive produced by Seth Meyers; and a spinoff of Bravo’s successful “The Real Housewives” franchise.



In addition to the exclusive streaming rights to the beloved NBC sitcoms “The Office” and “Parks and Recreation,” some of the most popular NBC and classic TV series of all time will be available on Peacock, including “30 Rock,” “Bates Motel,” “Battlestar Gallactica,” “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” “Cheers,” “Chrisley Knows Best,” “Covert Affairs,” “Downton Abbey,” “Everyone Loves Raymond,” “Frasier,” “Friday Night Lights,” “House,” “Keeping Up with the Kardashians,” “King Of Queens,” “Married…With Children,”“Monk,” “Parenthood,” “Psych,” “Royal Pains,” “Saturday Night Live,” “Superstore,” “The Real Housewives,” “Top Chef,” and “Will & Grace.”



Universal Pictures is developing premium original films and animated series to debut on Peacock with prominent talent and filmmakers. Additionally, DreamWorks Animation, the beloved kids and family brand and the studio behind animated hits “Shrek,” “Kung Fu Panda” and “How to Train Your Dragon,” will create original animated content for Peacock, making the platform a must-have offering for the entire family.

Peacock will also offer a robust slate of critically-acclaimed films and box-office hits from Universal Pictures and Focus Features. These titles range from laugh-out-loud comedies like “American Pie,” “Bridesmaids,” “Knocked Up,” “Meet the Parents,” and “Meet the Fockers,” to award-winning classics such as “A Beautiful Mind,” “Back to the Future,” “Brokeback Mountain,” “Casino,” “Dallas Buyers Club,” “Do the Right Thing,” “Erin Brockovich,” “E.T. The Extra Terrestrial,” “Field of Dreams,” “Jaws,” “Mamma Mia!,” “Shrek,” and “The Breakfast Club.” Peacock will also feature films from the franchises: “Bourne,” “Despicable Me,” and “Fast & Furious.”



Peacock is uniquely positioned to offer the U.S. Hispanic audience premium programming from the #1 Spanish-language network, Telemundo. The platform will feature more than 3,000 hours of Telemundo’s content, including an original dramedy “Armas de Mujer,” a new hit series from the makers of “La Reina del Sur,” and popular library titles “100 Dias Para Volver,” “Betty in NY,” “El Barón” and “Preso No. 1.”

About NBCUniversal:

NBCUniversal is one of the world’s leading media and entertainment companies in the development, production, and marketing of entertainment, news and information to a global audience.

NBCUniversal owns and operates a valuable portfolio of news and entertainment television networks, a premier motion picture company, significant television production operations, a leading television stations group, world-renowned theme parks, and a suite of leading Internet-based businesses. NBCUniversal is a division of Comcast Corporation.

2019 Creative Arts Emmy Awards: ‘Game of Thrones’ is the top winner

September 9, 2018

by Carla Hay

Emmys logo

With 10 awards, HBO’s “Game of Thrones” was the top winner at the 2019 Creative Arts Emmy Awards (the technical categories of the Primetime Emmys), which were presented September 14 and 15 at Microsoft Theater In Los Angeles. FXX will televise highlights from the ceremony on September 21 at 8 p.m. ET/PT. Other big winners at the 2018 Creative Arts Emmy Awards included the HBO limited series “Chernobyl” (seven prizes); the Nat Geo rock-climbing documentary “Free Solo” (which also won the Academy Award this year for Best Documentary Feature); and the Amazon Prime Video comedy series “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” (six prizes).

The biggest categories at the 71st Primetime Emmy Awards will be presented September 22 at Microsoft Theater. The is no host for the ceremony, which Fox will telecast live in the U.S. at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT. HBO’s “Game of Thrones” has the most nominations (32) in all categories.

First-time winners at the 2018 Creative Arts Emmy Awards included actress Rosamund Pike and actor Chris O’Dowd (for starring in the short-form series “State of the Union”); actor Luke Kirby (for guesting on “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”); and actress Rachel Bloom (for co-writing a song for “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend”). Previous Emmy winners RuPaul Charles, James Corden, John Oliver and W. Kamau Bell added to their Emmy haul for shows that they star in and executive produce.

In addition to “Game of Thrones,” “Saturday Night Live” and “Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert,” other shows that won several prizes at the 2018 Creative Arts Emmys included “Black Mirror: USS Callister,” “Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown,” “Queer Eye,” “Westworld,” “The Crown,” “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” and “The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story.”

Here is the complete list of winners for the 2019 Creative Arts Emmy Awards:

Outstanding Variety Special (Live): “Live in Front of a Studio Audience: Norman Lear’s ‘All in the Family’ and ‘The Jeffersons’”
Outstanding Variety Special (Pre-Recorded): “Carpool Karaoke: When Corden Met McCartney Live From Liverpool”
Outstanding Unstructured Reality Program: “United Shades of America with W. Kamau Bell”
Outstanding Structured Reality Program: “Queer Eye”
Outstanding Informational Series or Special: “Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown”
Outstanding Short-Form Comedy or Drama Series: “State of the Union”
Outstanding Short-Form Non-Fiction or Reality: “Creating Saturday Night Live”
Outstanding Creative Achievement in Interactive Media Within a Scripted Program: “Bandersnatch (Black Mirror)”
Outstanding Interactive Program: “NASA and SpaceX: The Interactive Demo-1 Launch”
Outstanding Original Interactive Program: “NASA’s Insights Mars Landing”
Outstanding Creative Achievement in Interactive Media Within a Scripted Program: “Free Solo” 360
Outstanding Original Interactive Program: “NASA JPL: Cassini’s Grand Finale”
Outstanding Children’s Program: “When You Wish Upon a Pickle: A Sesame Street Special”
Outstanding Individual Achievement in Animation: “Age of Sail” – Céline Desrumaux (production designer); Bruno Mangyoku (character designer); Jasmin Lai (color); “Carmen Sandiego” – Elaine Lee (background painter); “Love, Death & Robots” – Alberto Mielgo (production designer); Jun-ho Kim (background designer); David Pate (character animator); Owen Sullivan (storyboard artist)
Outstanding Animated Program: “The Simpsons”
Outstanding Short-Form Animated Program: “Love, Death & Robots”
Outstanding Short-Form Variety Series: “Carpool Karaoke—The Series”
Outstanding Documentary or Non-Fiction Series: “Our Planet”
Outstanding Documentary/Non-Fiction Special: “Leaving Neverland”
Exceptional Merit in Documentary Filmmaking: “RBG” and “The Sentence” (tie)
Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series: Luke Kirby, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”
Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series: Jane Lynch, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”
Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series: Bradley Whitford, “The Handmaid’s Tale”
Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series: Cherry Jones, “The Handmaid’s Tale”
Outstanding Host for a Reality Competition Program: RuPaul Charles, “RuPaul’s Drag Race”
Outstanding Character Voice-Over Performance: Seth MacFarlane, “Family Guy”
Outstanding Narration: David Attenborough, “Our Planet”
Outstanding Actor in a Short-Form Comedy or Drama Series: Chris O’Dowd, “State of the Union”
Outstanding Actress in a Short-Form Comedy or Drama Series: Rosamund Pike, “State of the Union”
Outstanding Cinematography for a Single-Camera Series (one hour): “The Crown”
Outstanding Directing for a Variety Series: Don Roy King, “Saturday Night Live”
Outstanding Directing for a Variety Special: Thom Zimny, “Springsteen on Broadway”
Outstanding Directing for a Reality Program: Hisham Ahbed, “Queer Eye”
Outstanding Directing for a Documentary/Non-Fiction Special: Elizabeth Chai Vasarheli and Jimmy Chin, “Free Solo”
Outstanding Technical Direction, Camerawork, Video Control for a Series: “Last Week Tonight With John Oliver”
Outstanding Technical Direction, Camerawork, Video Control for a Limited Series, Movie or Special: “The Late Late Show Carpool Karaoke Primetime Special 2019”
Outstanding Writing for a Variety Series: “Hannah Gadsby”
Outstanding Writing for a Non-Fiction Program: “Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown”
Outstanding Cinematography for a Single-Camera Series (half-hour): “Russian Doll”
Outstanding Cinematography for a Single-Camera Series (one hour): “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”
Outstanding Cinematography for a Multi-Camera Series: “The Ranch”
Outstanding Cinematography for a Limited Series or Movie: “Chernobyl”
Outstanding Cinematography for a Reality Program: “Life Below Zero”
Outstanding Cinematography for a Non-Fiction Program: “Free Solo”
Outstanding Lighting Design/Lighting Direction for a Variety Series: “Saturday Night Live”
Outstanding Lighting Design/Lighting Direction for a Variety Special: “Rent”
Outstanding Single-Camera Picture Editing for a Drama Series: “Game of Thrones”
Outstanding Single-Camera Picture Editing for a Comedy Series: “Fleabag”
Outstanding Single-Camera Picture Editing for a Limited Series or Movie: “Chernobyl”
Outstanding Multi-Camera Picture Editing for a Comedy Series: “One Day at a Time”
Outstanding Picture Editing for a Structured or Competition Reality Program: “Queer Eye”
Outstanding Picture Editing for an Unstructured Reality Program: “United Shades of America with W. Kamau Bell”
Outstanding Picture Editing for Variety Program: “Last Week Tonight With John Oliver”
Outstanding Picture Editing for a Non-Fiction Program: “Free Solo”
Outstanding Sound Editing for a Comedy or Drama series (half-hour) and Animation: “Barry”
Outstanding Sound Editing for a Comedy or Drama (one hour): “Game of Thrones”
Outstanding Sound Editing for a Limited Series, Movie or Special: “Chernobyl”
Outstanding Sound Editing for a Non-Fiction Program (single- or multi-camera): “Free Solo”
Outstanding Sound Mixing for a Comedy or Drama series (half-hour) and Animation: “Barry”
Outstanding Sound Mixing for a Comedy or Drama series (one hour): “Game of Thrones”
Outstanding Sound Mixing for a Limited Series or Movie: “Chernobyl”
Outstanding Sound Mixing for a Non-Fiction Program (single- or multi-camera): “Free Solo”
Outstanding Sound Mixing for a Variety Series or Special: “Aretha! A Grammy Celebration for the Queen of Soul”
Outstanding Production Design for a Narrative Program (half-hour or less): “Russian Doll”
Outstanding Production Design for Narrative Contemporary Program: “The Handmaid’s Tale”
Outstanding Production Design for a Narrative for a Narrative Period or Fantasy Program: “Chernobyl”
Outstanding Production Design for a Variety, Reality or Reality Competition Series: “Saturday Night Live”
Outstanding Production Design for a Variety Special: “Rent”
Outstanding Hairstyling for a Single-Camera Series: “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”
Outstanding Hairstyling for a Multi-Camera Series or Special: “RuPaul’s Drag Race”
Outstanding Hairstyling for a Limited Series or Movie: “Fosse/Verdon”
Outstanding Makeup for a Single-Camera Series (non-prosthetic): “Game of Thrones”
Outstanding Makeup for a Multi-Camera Series or Special (non-prosthetic): “Saturday Night Live”
Outstanding Makeup for a Limited Series or Movie (non-prosthetic): “Fosse/Verdon”
Outstanding Prosthetic Makeup for a Series, Limited Series, Movie or Special: “Star Trek: Discovery”
Outstanding Contemporary Costumes: “Russian Doll”
Outstanding Period Costumes: “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”
Outstanding Fantasy/Sci-Fi Costumes: “Game of Thrones”
Outstanding Costumes for Variety, Non-Fiction or Reality Programming: “RuPaul’s Drag Race”
Outstanding Stunt Coordination for a Comedy Series or Variety Program: “GLOW”
Outstanding Stunt Coordination for a Drama Series, Limited Series or Movie: “Game of Thrones”
Outstanding Music Composition for a Series (original dramatic score): Ramin Djawadi, “Game of Thrones”
Outstanding Music Composition for a Limited Series, Movie or Special (original dramatic score): Hildur Guðnadóttir, “Chernobyl”
Outstanding Music Composition for a Documentary Series or Special (original dramatic score): Marco Beltrami and Brandon Roberts, “Free Solo”
Outstanding Original Main Title Theme Music: Nicholas Britell, “Succession”
Outstanding Original Music and Lyrics: “I Have To Get Out / Song Title: Antidepressants Are So Not A Big Deal” from “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend”— Music by Adam Schlesinger and Rachel Bloom. Lyrics by Adam Schlesinger, Rachel Bloom and Adam Dolgen.
Outstanding Music Direction: Alex Lacamoire, “Fosse/Verdon”
Outstanding Music Supervision: Robin Urdang, Amy Sherman-Palladino, Dan Palladino, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”
Outstanding Choreography for Variety or Reality Programming: Tessandra Chavez, “World of Dance”
Outstanding Choreography for Scripted Programming: Kathryn Burns, “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend”
Outstanding Main Title Design: “Game of Thrones”
Outstanding Special Visual Effects: “Game of Thrones”
Outstanding Special Visual Effects in a Supporting Role: “Chernobyl”
Outstanding Casting for a Comedy Series: “Fleabag”
Outstanding Casting for a Drama Series: “Game of Thrones”
Outstanding Casting for a Limited Series: “When They See Us”
Outstanding Casting for a Reality Program: “Queer Eye”
Outstanding Commercial: “Dream Crazy,” Nike
Outstanding Motion Design: “Patriot Act With Hasan Minhaj”
Outstanding Innovation in Interactive Media: “Artificial” and “Wolves in the Walls: It’s All Over” (tie)

2019 Tribeca TV Festival: recap and reviews

September 16, 2019

by Carla Hay

The third annual Tribeca TV Festival (which took place September 12 to September 15 in New York City) once again offered a diverse mix of programming representing various TV genres. This year, the entire festival took place at the Regal Battery Park Cinemas in New York City. In most cases, a new episode of a show premiered at the festival, and there was a post-screening Q&A with stars from the show and at least one executive producer. The event also featured a 25th anniversary reunion of “Friends” executive producers who curated two episodes from the classic sitcom. There were also “Tribeca Talks” celebrity conversations with Emmy-winning actor James Spader (who was interviewed by Whoopi Goldberg) and comedian Hisan Minhaj.

At the festival, I saw the first-episode premieres of two new series: The comedy “First Wives Club” (which launches on the  BET+  streaming service on September 19) and the crime-drama “Evil,” which debuts on CBS on September 26, 2019.

“First Wives Club” Review

Michelle Buteau, Jill Scott and Ryan Michelle Bathe in “First Wives Club” (Photo courtesy of BET)

The “First Wives Club” show is the TV version of the 1996 comedy film that starred Diane Keaton, Goldie Hawn and Bette Midler as three wives getting revenge on their ex-husbands, who dumped them for other women. The movie was rated PG, and the TV series (whose showrunner is “Girls Trip” co-writer Tracy Oliver) is definitely for mature audiences, since the show has nudity and explicit language that can be seen in R-rated movies. People will inevitably compare the TV show to the movie (which are both set in New York City), so here’s a helpful summary of the similarities and the differences:

Bette Midler, Goldie Hawn and Diane Keaton in “The First Wives Club” movie (Photo courtesy of Paramount Pictures)

In the movie, the three women (who have known each other since their college days) are reunited in the beginning of the story because of the suicide of their college pal Cynthia Swann Griffin (played by Stockard Channing), who’s been depressed that her ex-husband married a much-younger woman. Keaton played Annie MacDuggan Paradis, an intellectual, super-organized type who likes to pretend that things are going better in her life than they really are. Midler played Brenda Morelli Cushman, the loud-mouthed humorous friend who’s still very bitter over her divorce. Hawn played Elise Eliot Atchison, an Oscar-winning actress who drinks heavily and has become so insecure about her looks that she’s addicted to plastic surgery.

From the beginning of the movie, Brenda is already divorced from her sleazy ex-husband Morton Cushman (played by Dan Hedaya), an electronics-retail businessman who’s gotten engaged to his gold-digger mistress Shelly Stewart (played Sarah Jessica Parker). Brenda and Morton have a teenage son, who’s often embarrassed by Brenda’s blunt attitude. Annie has a better relationship with her own child: She and Aaron have a young, adult lesbian daughter named Chris (played by Jennifer Dundas), who helps Annie get revenge on Aaron.

The movie shows the breakup of Annie’s and Elise’s marriages. Annie’s ad-executive husband Aaron (played by Stephen Collins) leaves her for Annie’s therapist Leslie Rosen (played by Marcia Gay Harden). Elise’s movie-producer husband Bill (played by Victor Garber) has been cheating on her with ditzy actress Phoebe LaVelle (played by Elizabeth Berkley), who’s young enough to be his daughter. Annie and Brenda gave up their careers to become housewives and stay-at-home mothers, so their divorces have a different type of identity crisis than Elise’s divorce, since Elise has no children and still maintained her career throughout her marriage.

Ryan Michelle Bathe of “First Wives Club” (Photo courtesy of BET)

In the TV show, Ryan Michelle Bathe is Ari Montgomery, the counterpart to Keaton’s Annie MacDuggan Paradis. Ari is an attorney who has given up her law practice to become the campaign manager for her senator husband David (played by Mark Tallman). In the first episode of the series, Ari and David are having problems in their marriage (he’s become bored and uninterested in her), but Ari is still projecting an image to the world that her life is perfect. Although Ari and David’s kids are mentioned, they are not seen in this episode. However, in the Q&A after the screening, it was revealed that Ari and David have a lesbian daughter (whom Buteau called “gender-bending”) who first appears in the show’s third episode. The daughter’s name is Versace, and she’s played by Tara Pacheco. At the Q&A, Oliver declined to elaborate on what Versace’s storyline is in the show.

Michelle Buteau of “First Wives Club” (Photo courtesy of BET

Michelle Buteau plays Bree Washington, an orthopedic surgeon who is the counterpart to Midler’s  Brenda Morelli Cushman. In the first episode, viewers see that Bree is separated from her businessman husband Gary (played by RonReaco Lee) because she found out that he cheated on her. (The other woman, who is described as a one-night stand, is not seen in this episode.) Buteau, who’s also a stand-up comedian in real life, seems to have some of the best lines in the show. In one scene that has the three friends on a high-rise window-washing platform (in a nod to a similar scene in the movie), Bree yells, “Bitch, you got us out here like brown-tittied Spider-Men!”

Jill Scott of “First Wives Club” (Photo courtesy of BET)

Jill Scott plays Hazel Rachelle, a fading R&B star who is the counterpart to Hawn’s Elise Eliot Atchison. Hazel isn’t has obsessed with her looks as Elise is, but Hazel is worried about her career and getting older in an industry that prefers young artists. Just like Elise, Hazel works closely with her husband, so when their marriage ends messily, her career is also in jeopardy. Hazel’s cheating husband is Derek Ellsworth (played by Malik Yoba), the head of her record company, and he’s been having a not-so-secret affair with a sultry young diva named Stella Bentley (played by Tasie Lawrence), whom he’s been grooming to replace Hazel as his next big hitmaker. The episode’s first big emotional meltdown scene comes when Hazel finds out about his infidelity, and storms into a recording studio to confront Derek. And yes, things get thrown, and things get broken.

Jill Scott in”First Wives Club” (Photo by Karolina Wojtasik/BET)

The main difference in the comedy styles of the movie and the TV show is that the comedy in the TV show is less broad and more rooted in reality, which is why there’s so much adult humor in the show. And in a switch from how most adult-oriented TV shows portray sex scenes, in “First Wives Club,” the men, not the women, are the ones who are shown naked (backsides, not full frontal), at least in the first episode. That might be because “First Wives Club” show has a female gaze, since the majority of the show’s writers and directors are women.

In one hilarious bedroom scene, Ari and David have unsatisfying sex, but David thinks he’s an amazing lover. In the episode’s other sex scene, Bree takes home a hunky bartender named Jesus (played by Angel Garet) after he flirts with her at the nightclub where he works. Showing the sexual needs of the three main characters in the TV series is a big contrast from the movie, where the three main characters do not have any sex scenes, and only one of them (Elise) seems interested in dating again after her marriage ends.

Ryan Michelle Bathe, Michelle Buteau, RonReaco Lee, Mark Tallman and Tracy Oliver at the 2019 Tribeca Film Festival in New York City on September 12, 2019. (Photo by Carla Hay)

At the Q&A, Bathe said she can’t watch her sex scene in the first episode: “I still haven’t seen it. I closed my eyes!” Tallman replied, “You’re really good in it. I’m just embarrassing.” Buteau said she was happy to represent for “thick” women: “My husband could not be more proud. As a size 18 broad, no one [on a TV show] is like, ‘Oh, go make out and open your legs.’ You’re usually [cast as] the best friend. Body positivity, all the motherfuckin’ way! Let’s go!”

Oliver also talked about how the show breaks convention by casting two “thick” women in leading roles: “I remember on day one of shooting the pilot [episode], Jill [Scott] came up to me and said, “Thank you for having two thick girls in your cast. I’ve never actually had that happen’ … Let’s expand the definition of what beauty is, and not just make this all about skinny women, and really diversify what everyone looks like.”

Ryan Michelle Bathe and Jill Scott in “First Wives Club” (Photo by Karolina Wojtasik/BET)

A previous attempt to make a TV version of “The First Wives Club” for the TV Land network fizzled in 2016. Vanessa Lachey, Megan Hilty and Alyson Hannigan had been cast as the stars of the show, which was going to be set in San Francisco. After the blockbuster success of 2017’s “Girls Trip,” Oliver was asked to do the TV version of “The First Wives Club,” which was going to be on the Paramount Network before the show moved to the BET+ streaming service.

Oliver said at the Q&A that in an industry where people have to beg for work and have to deal with constant rejections, being given this opportunity as a first-time showrunner “almost never happens.” She added that she was just as surprised when she faced no objections to her requirement that people of color would be the stars of the show: “That was the one opportunity I’ve had where I said what my parameters were up front, and they agreed to it.”

Michelle Buteau and Ryan Michelle Bathe in “First Wives Club” (Photo by Karolina Wojtasik/BET)

Another big change from the movie to the TV show is that there is no fourth friend who commits suicide in the beginning of the story. During the post-screening Q&A, Oliver explained: “With movies, you have the luxury of time. With a half-hour pilot [episode], if we’re laughing after a death within 10 minutes, it’s a little weird.” Instead, what brings the three friends back together is Hazel’s scandal-plagued and very messy divorce.

As for scenes from the movie that made it into the TV show, there are two memorable scenes that were mentioned in the Q&A. In the movie, Donald Trump’s first ex-wife Ivana has a cameo playing herself, and she gives this divorce advice: “Don’t get mad. Get everything.” (That became the tag line for the movie.) In the TV show, the famous ex-wife who delivers that line is Shaunie O’Neal, ex-wife of basketball star Shaquille O’Neal. The movie also has a memorable scene with the three women, dressed all in white, singing Lesley Gore’s “You Don’t Own Me.” Oliver said that the TV show also has a “You Don’t Own Me” scene, but she didn’t want to spill any more details:  “I can’t say anything about that, but what I will say is that we do our own White Party and a version of that [song] in the show.”

Michelle Buteau, Jill Scott and Ryan Michelle Bathe of “First Wives Club” (Photo courtesy of BET)

One of the best things about the show is that the chemistry between the three main characters seems very natural, not forced. And if the camaraderie looks genuine on screen, that’s because the three women have become friends in real life. Oliver says it was a stroke of luck, because before the show began filming, “They never actually did a chemistry read together, which is a disastrous way to ever do a show about friends … I don’t know how it happened, but they loved each other immediately.”

Buteau said of the trio: “We’re all fire signs. We’re all only children. We all have so much in common. We’ve all had to fight for our place in whatever Hollywood was giving us. For this all-inclusive experience, it was like showing up to work with smiles every day. Also, working with boss-ass bitches who are moms and get stuff done, I follow you!”

BET+ will premiere “First Wives Club” on September 19, 2019.

“Evil” Review

Mike Colter and Katja Herbers in “Evil” (Photo by Elizabeth Fisher/CBS)

Husband-and-wife TV showrunners Robert King and Michelle King, who created the Emmy-winning hit “The Good Wife” (as well as the spinoff “The Good Fight”), have another potential hit with the crime drama “Evil.” Just like most of the Kings’ recent TV series, “Evil” features a complex woman in the lead role, and the series explores themes that have to do with ethics, ambition, and gray areas of morality.

In “Evil,” Katja Herbers plays Kristen Bouchard, a skeptical female psychologist who teams up with priest-in-training David Acosta (played by Mike Colter) and carpenter Ben Shakir (Aasif Mandvi) to investigate the unexplained mysteries uncovered by the Catholic Church. Kristen and David naturally clash in the way they investigate—she doesn’t believe in the supernatural, and he does (which might remind people of the male/female investigator relationship in “The X-Files”)—and it wouldn’t be a King show without sexual tension. It’s revealed in the first episode that Kristen, who’s married with four young daughters, is sexually attracted to David, who has a colorful background as a world traveler and former war photographer. Kristen’s husband is frequently away from home, which explains why she’s feeling lonely. Because David is studying to become a priest (in other words, he’s preparing to lead a celibate life), it obviously adds a layer of tension to the “will they or won’t they hook up” subplot that the show is clearly setting up as an ongoing issue between Kristen and David.

Mike Colter, Katja Herbers and Aasif Mandvi (Photo by Michele Crowe/CBS)

The first episode of “Evil” is a little overstuffed with villains, and rushes through several things in order to pack in numerous plot developments, but the good news for crime-thriller fans is that this show definitely has plenty of scares and suspense. Without giving away any spoilers, the three villains introduced in the first episode are:

  • A demon named George (played by Marti Matulis), who looks like something out of the “Insidious” movie series, and who taunts Kristen in what she believes are her nightmares.
  • A suspected serial killer named Orson LeRoux , who is in jail while on trial and is repeatedly interviewed by Kristen and David. (Shades of “The Silence of the Lambs.”)
  • A mysterious creep named Leland Townsend (played by Michael Emerson,  the former “Lost” and “Person of Interest” actor who’s made a career out of playing mysterious creeps), who gleefully commits all sorts of mayhem.

Somehow, these villains are all tied in to an enigmatic group of evildoers called The 60.

Katja Herbers and Michael Emerson in “Evil” (Photo by John Paul Filo/CBS)

Kristen’s therapist, Dr. Boggs (played by Kurt Fuller), is also introduced in the first episode. Fans of these types of shows can speculate that this character probably isn’t what he first appears to be. In other words, can Dr. Boggs really be trusted? We’ll have to wait and see. At the post-screening Q&A, “Evil” executive producer Robert King hinted at Boggs’ dark side, by saying that Boggs has “problems.”

There’s no shortage of real-life supernatural investigations to inspire stories for this show, so if “Evil” is a hit, it could go for years without running out of ideas. Expect to see many scenes of “possessed” people in this show, but Robert King also said don’t expect the show to be “all exorcisms, all the time.” “Evil” will also push some emotional buttons when it comes to debates over religion and spirituality.

Overall, “Evil” is one of the better-quality new shows being offered on broadcast TV this year. Some of the scenes are so terrifying, that “Evil” looks like it could also be on a cable network such as AMC (home of “The Walking Dead”) or FX (home of “American Horror Story”).

Katja Herbers and Mike Colter in “Evil” (Photo by Elizabeth Fisher/CBS)

At the post-screening Q&A, Michelle King said that, just like the female and male lead characters in “Evil,” she and husband Robert have very different beliefs when it comes to evil: “We don’t see the roots of evil in the same way. Robert typically thinks it comes through something religious, something demonic. I’m much more likely to jump to the psychological or the scientific.”

Robert King added, “When you look around and see some of the evil going on in politics or whatever, you kind of think there’s something going beyond …. what science can explain. When you see what’s going with racism in this country, there’s something that holds people [to racism], and I don’t think it’s all in genes.”

“Evil” executive producers Robert King and Michelle King at the 2019 Tribeca Film Festival in New York City on September 14, 2019. (Photo by Carla Hay)

Robert King said that “Evil” will include a lot of timely social topics. For example, in the show’s sixth episode, Leland grooms a male incel loner to possibly become a mass murderer. “If you’re not writing about that today,” said Robert King,”I don’t know if you’re awake, because you’re watching what’s going on with lone gunmen [who commit mass murders], how people are creating communities around anger, frustration, bitterness, racism.”

Herbers shared how she develops the character of Kristen Bouchard: “I work on intuition, and I go with what’s on the page. The scripts are absolutely incredible.” She also added that she works off of the flow of her fellow actors, but she’s not a Method actor: “I’m not one of those people who needs to go into solitary confinement … I did have to study psychology for about a year. I have very little knowledge of the Catholic Church.”

“Evil” co-stars Mike Colter and Katja Herbers at the 2019 Tribeca Film Festival in New York City on September 14, 2019. (Photo by Carla Hay)

Colter commented on his David Acosta character: “I think he is a work in progress. He’s trying to achieve something that few people can, and be happy in that world.”  Colter added that what attracted him to the role was that David was described as “the most interesting man in the world.”

When asked if Leland Townsend is “evil,” Emerson replied: “I’m not sure what you mean by ‘evil.’ I think he’s playful. He’s a kind of a gamesman, maybe. He likes stirring things up. It delights him to watch things spin out of control. The wreckage appeals to him.”

“Evil” co-stars Aasif Mandvi and Christine Lahti at the 2019 Tribeca Film Festival in New York City on September 14, 2019. (Photo by Carla Hay)

Mandvi said that he’s had “many” supernatural experiences, so he’s almost the opposite of his Ben Shakir character: “Ben is a guy who really believes only in the things you can touch, taste, feel, smell, hear. He lives in a world of pragmatism and empirical truth. David needs that in his life as well.”

Christine Lahti, who is not in the first episode of “Evil,” was nevertheless at the Q&A. She plays Kristen’s divorced mother Sheryl, whom Lahti described as a “free spirit” and former rock groupie. “I’m the surrogate babysitter,” Lahti said, “My character is a little more comic relief than anything.” She added that Sheryl is “hungry for a relationship,” because she “got rid of [her] husband, who was very controlling, about 15 years ago.” Lahti teased that Sheryl does find love on the show, “but I’m not going to tell you who it’s with.” Robert King dropped a hint though: “She ends up dating somebody on this stage.”

“Evil” co-stars Michael Emerson and Kurt Fuller at the 2019 Tribeca Film Festival in New York City on September 14, 2019. (Photo by Carla Hay)

Fuller said his Dr. Boggs character is “the person in this show that Kristen is actually honest with. She trusts [Dr. Boggs] and tells [him] everything that’s going on with her. If it wasn’t for her sessions with [], she would spin out of control.”

Robert King said that members of The 60 will definitely be in the show. “Some may be in the White House, some may be in ICE [Immigration and Customs Enforcement],” he teased.

Here’s a photo recap of the festival:

Day 1

Tribeca Talks: James Spader and Whoopi Goldberg

Whoopi Goldberg and James Spader at the 2019 Tribeca TV Festival in New York City on September 12, 2019. (Photo by Dominik Bindl/Getty Images for Tribeca TV Festival)


Epix’s “Godfather of Harlem”                           HBO’s “Room 104”

(Series premiere: Sept. 29, 2019)                     (Season 3 premiere: Sept. 13, 2019)

“Godfather of Harlem” co-stars Forest Whitaker and Ilfenesh Hadera at the 2019 Tribeca TV Festival in New York City on September 12, 2019. (Photo by Jim Spellman/Getty Images for Tribeca TV Festival)
“Room 104” star/executive producer Mark Duplass at the 2019 Tribeca TV Festival  in New York City on September 12, 2019. (Photo by Dominik Bindl/Getty Images for Tribeca TV Festival)












BET+’s “First Wives Club”

(Series premiere: September 19, 2019)

Mark Tallman, Ryan Michelle Bathe, executive producer Tracy Oliver, Michelle Buteau and RonReaco Lee at the 2019 Tribeca TV Festival at Regal Battery Park Cinemas in New York City on September 12, 2019. (Photo by Jim Spellman/Getty Images for Tribeca TV Festival)

Day 2

“Friends” 25th Anniversary Reunion

“Friends” executive producers Kevin Bright, Marta Kauffman and David Crane at the 2019 Tribeca TV Festival in New York City on September 13, 2019. (Photo by John Lamparski/Getty Images for Tribeca TV Festival)

Amazon Prime Video’s “Goliath”

(Season 3 premiere: October 4, 2019)

“Goliath” co-stars Lawrence Trilling, Amy Brenneman, Billy Bob Thornton, Shamier Anderson, Nina Arianda and Tania Raymonde at the 2019 Tribeca TV Festival in New York City on September 13, 2019. (Photo by John Lamparski/Getty Images for Tribeca TV Festival)

AMC’s “Hip Hop: The Songs That Shook America”

(Series premiere: October 13, 2019)

“Hip Hop: Songs That Shook America” executive producer Amir “Questlove” Thompson, panel moderator Lola Ogunnaike and  executive producer Tarik “Black Thought” Trotter at the 2019 Tribeca TV Festival in New York City on September 13, 2019. (Photo by John Lamparski/Getty Images for Tribeca TV Festival)

Day 3

The CW’s “Katy Keene”

(Series premiere: Sometime in  2020)

“Katy Keene” co-stars Ashleigh Murray, Katherine LaNasa, Julia Chan, Lucy Hale, Jonny Beauchamp and Camille Hyde at the 2019 Tribeca TV Festival in New York City on September 14, 2019. (Photo by Roy Rochlin/Getty Images for Tribeca TV Festival)

Freeform’s “Party of Five”

(Series premiere: January 8, 2020)

“Party of Five” co-stars Niko Guardado, Emily Tosta, Elle Paris Legaspi and Brandon Larracuente at the 2019 Tribeca TV Festival  in New York City at Regal Battery Park Cinemas on September 14, 2019. (Photo by Roy Rochlin/Getty Images for Tribeca TV Festival)

CBS’s “Evil”                                                                                       ABC’s “Bless This Mess”

(Series premiere: Sept. 26, 2019)                     (Season 2 premiere: Sept. 24, 2019)

“Bless This Mess” co-stars Dax Shepard, Pam Grier and Lake Bell at the 2019 Tribeca TV Festival in New York City September 14, 2019. (Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images for Tribeca TV Festival)
“Evil” co-star Mike Colter at the 2019 Tribeca TV Festival in New York City on September 14, 2019. (Photo by Roy Rochlin/Getty Images for Tribeca TV Festival


Day 4

Starz’s “Leavenworth”

(Series premiere: October 20, 2019)

“Leavenworth” panel: New York Times national correspondent David Philipps, executive producer David Check, Mike McGuiness, executive producer Steven Soderbergh, Sarah Girgis, executive producer Paul Pawlowski and attorney John Maher attend the “Leavenworth” screening at the 2019 Tribeca TV Festival at Regal Battery Park Cinemas on September 15, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Roy Rochlin/Getty Images for Tribeca TV Festival)

Hulu’s “Looking for Alaska”

(Series premiere: October 18, 2019)

“Looking for Alaska” co-stars Jay Lee, Kristine Froseth, Charlie Plummer and Denny Love at the 2019 Tribeca TV Festival in New York City on September 15, 2019. (Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images for Tribeca TV Festival)

Tribeca Talks: Hisan Minhaj

Hasan Minhaj at the 2019 Tribeca TV Festival in New York City on September 15, 2019. (Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images for Tribeca TV Festival)

Apple TV +’s “Dickinson”

(Series premiere: November 1, 2019)

“Dickinson” panel: Adrian Enscoe, Ella Hunt, Hailee Steinfeld, Alena Smith, Anna Baryshnikov, Toby Huss and Jane Krakowski at the 2019 Tribeca TV Festival in New York City on September 14, 2019. (Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images for Tribeca TV Festival)

Amazon Prime Video’s “Transparent”

(Series finale: September 27, 2019)

“Transparent” panel: Jill Soloway, Jay Duplass, Alexandra Billings, Shakina Nayfack, Judith Light, Faith Soloway, a guest and Jude Dry at the 2019 Tribeca TV Festival in New York City on September 15, 2019. (Photo by Roy Rochlin/Getty Images for Tribeca TV Festival)



Ric Ocasek dead at 75; The Cars singer was a pioneer of rock’s New Wave movement

September 15, 2019

by John Larson

Ric Ocasek
Ric Ocasek of the Cars at the 33rd Annual Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony at Public Auditorium in Cleveland on April 14, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame)

Ric Ocasek, who was best known as the lead singer of The Cars, was found dead in his New York City apartment on September 15, 2019. He was 75. The cause of death has not yet been made public, and a medical examination will be conducted, according to the Associated Press.*

Ocasek was considered one of the pioneers of rock music’s New Wave movement that began in the late 1970s as a more melodic, synthesizer-heavy offshoot of punk music. Hailing from Boston, The Cars became an instant success with their self-titled 1978 debut album. Their hits included “Good Times Roll,” “My Best Friend’s Girl,” “Just What I Needed,” “Shake It Up,” “You Might Think,” “Drive” and “Hello Again.”

The Cars’ 1984 “You Might Think” video also holds the distinction of being the first to win Best Video at the MTV Video Music Awards. Ironically, the band’s biggest hit, “Drive” (which reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1984) , was not sung by Ocasek but by Cars bass player Benjamin Orr, who died of pancreatic cancer in 2000.

The Cars disbanded in 1988, and Ocasek went on to have a solo career. He also produced albums for bands such as Weezer, Black 47, Bad Religion, Guded by Voices, Nada Surf, Bad Brains, Possum Dixon and LeTigre. The surviving members of the Cars temporarily reunited with Ocasek to record the 2011 album “Move Like This,” and they toured in support of the record. The album and the tour got mixed reviews. The Cars were inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2018. The band had its final reunion and performance with Ocasek at the ceremony.

Ocasek  is survived by six sons, two from each of his three marriages. His third marriage to former supermodel Paulina Porizkova was on the rocks at the time of his death. The ex-couple, who married in 1989, had been separated for about a year before making their separation public in 2018. Ocasek and Prozikova met on the set of the Cars’ “Drive” video, which co-starred Porizkova as a mentally disturbed woman.

*September 16, 2109 UPDATE: The Associated Press has reported that Ocasek died from heart disease, and he died in his sleep. He was also suffering from emphysema.

2019 Toronto International Film Festival: ‘Jojo Rabbit’ wins People’s Choice Award

September 15, 2019

The 2019 Toronto International Film Festival took place from September 5 to September 15 in Toronto. Here are the 2019 winners of the festival’s awards, which were announced on September 15 at an awards-ceremony brunch:


Winner: Taika Waititi’s Jojo Rabbit

First runner-up: Noah Baumbach’s Marriage Story
Second runner-up: Bong Joon-ho’s Parasite

The award offers a $15,000 cash prize and custom award, sponsored by Grolsch.


Winner: Galder Gaztelu-Urrutia’s The Platform

First runner-up: Andrew Patterson’s The Vast of Night
Second runner-up: Jeff Barnaby’s Blood Quantum


Winner: Feras Fayyad’s The Cave

First runner-up: Garin Hovannisian’s I Am Not Alone
Second runner-up: Bryce Dallas Howard’s Dads



Winner: Pietro Marcello’s Martin Eden

Honourable Mentions:

Kazik Radwanski’s Anne at 13,000 ft

Alice Winocour’s Proxima

The Toronto Platform Prize offers a custom award and a $20,000 cash prize.

The Festival welcomed an international jury comprised of award-winning filmmaker Athina Rachel Tsangari, Berlinale Artistic Director Carlo Chatrian, and international film critic Jessica Kiang.


Winner – Discovery Programme: Carmel Winters’ Float Like a Butterfly​

Honourable Mention: Laura Luchetti’s Twin Flower


Winner – Discovery Programme: Heather Young’s Murmur

Winner – Special Presentations: Coky Giedroyc’s How to Build a Girl

The jury was comprised of Jury President Rita di Santo (UK), Frédéric Jaeger (Germany), Liam Lacey (Canada), Ruben Peralta Rigaud (Dominican Republic), Müge Turan (Turkey), and Claire Valade (Canada).


Winner: Oualid Mouaness’ 1982

The jury, selected from the Network for the Promotion of Asian Pacific Cinema, included Chairperson Beckie Stocchetti, Kanako Hayashi, and Albert Shin.



Winner: Chloé Robichaud’s Delphine

Honourable Mention: The jury awarded a special mention to Theodore Ushev’s The Physics of Sorrow for its impressive filmmaking and detailed craftsmanship.

The award offers a $10,000 cash prize, made possible by IWC Schaffhausen.


Winner: Lasse Linder’s All Cats Are Grey in the Dark

Honourable Mentions: Federico Luis Tachella’s The Nap, for its brave exploration of age and sexuality.

The award offers a $10,000 cash prize, made possible by IWC Schaffhausen.

The jury was comprised of Chelsea McMullan, Léo Soesanto, and Andrea Roa.



Winner: Matthew Rankin’s The Twentieth Century

This award carries a cash prize of $15,000, made possible by the City of Toronto.


Winner: Sophie Deraspe’s Antigone

Honourable mention: Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers and Kathleen Hepburn’s The Body Remembers When the World Broke Open.

This award carries a cash prize of $30,000 and a custom award, sponsored by Canada Goose®.

The jury was comprised of Magali Simard, Devyani Saltzman, and Alicia Elliott.

2019 BET Hip-Hop Awards: Cardi B has the most nominations

September 11, 2019

Cardi B at the 19th annual BET Awards at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles on June 23, 2019. (Photo courtesy of BET)

The following is a press release from BET:

The BET “Hip Hop Awards” will return to the Cobb Energy Center in Atlanta, GA, on Saturday, October 5, 2019, and the broadcast premiere is Tuesday, October 8, 2019 at 8:00PM ET/PT.

Grammy Award-winning, multi-platinum artist, Cardi B leads this year’s nominations with an impressive 10 nods. Following the impressive four wins at the 2018 Awards, Cardi B’s 10  nods includes ‘MVP of the Year,’ ‘Hot Ticket Performer,’ ‘Hustler of the Year,’ ‘Best Collabo,’ ‘Single of the Year,’ ‘Made-You-Look Award,’ and two nods for the ‘Best Hip-Hop Video,’ & ‘Sweet 16’ categories.

DJ Khaled, Travis Scott, and J.Cole, who all had chart-topping success this year, follow closely with an astonishing 8 nominations each.  Drake, who lead the 2018 nominations, falls to third most nominations this year with 7 nods including ‘MVP of the Year,’ ‘Single of the Year,’ ‘Hot Ticket Performer,’ ‘Lyricist of the Year,’ ‘Best Collabo’ and two nods in the ‘Best Hip-Hop Video’  category.

Other notable nominations include Nipsey Hussle who posthumously receives 5 nominations, along with new-comer Megan Thee Stallion.   21 Savage, DaBaby Meek Mill & labelmate Rick Ross all received 4 nods.

Additionally, ‘Best New Hip-Hop Artist’ Award nominees include Blueface , DaBaby, Lil Nas X , Megan Thee Stallion, Roddy Ricch, and YBN Cordae.

Jesse Collins, CEO of Jesse Collins Entertainment, will serve as Executive Producer of the BET “Hip Hop Awards” 2019  along with Connie Orlando, BET Head of Programming and Jeannae Rouzan–Clay, Vice President of Specials, Jesse Collins Entertainment.

“Best International Flow” is a new category that will recognize artists from around the world for the first time, with nominees from Nigeria, UK, France, South Africa, Ghana and Canada. Internationally, the BET “Hip Hop Awards” 2019 will air on BET Africa October 9, 2019, at 7:00PM CAT; BET UK on October 10, 2019, at 9PM BST; BET France on October 10, 2019 at 8:45PM CEST; and BET South Korea October 10, 2019 at 9:00PM KST.

See below for the complete list of BET “HIP HOP AWARDS” 2019 Official Nominees:

Best Hip-Hop Video

21 Savage featuring J. Cole, “A Lot”
Cardi B, “Money”
City Girls featuring Cardi B, “Twerk”
DaBaby, “Suge”
Meek Mill featuring Drake, “Going Bad”
Travis Scott featuring Drake, “Sicko Mode”

Hot Ticket Performer

Cardi B
The Carters
Megan Thee Stallion
Travis Scott

Album of the Year

Travis Scott, “Astroworld”
Meek Mill, Championships”
Lizzo, “Cuz I Love You”
DJ Khaled, “Father of Asahd”
Tyler, the Creator, “Igor”
Dreamville, “Revenge of the Dreamers 3”

Video Director of the Year

Benny Boom
Bruno Mars, Florent Dechard
Dave Meyers
Elf Rivera
Travis Scott

Lyricist of the Year

2 Chainz
J. Cole
Meek Mill
Nipsey Hussle
YBN Cordae

MVP of the Year

Cardi B
DJ Khaled
J. Cole
Megan Thee Stallion
Nipsey Hussle

Producer of the Year

DJ Khaled
London On Da Track
Metro Boomin
Swizz Beatz
Tay Keith

Best Collab, Duo or Group

21 Savage featuring J. Cole, “A Lot”
Cardi B & Bruno Mars, “Please Me”
DJ Khaled featuring Nipsey Hussle & John Legend. “Higher”
Lil Baby & Gunna, “Drip Too Hard”
Lil Nas X featuring Billy Ray Cyrus, “Old Town Road” (Remix)

Single of the Year

City Girls, “Act Up” (Produced by EarlThePearll)
Megan Thee Stallion, “Big Ole Freak” (Produced by LilJuMadeDaBeat)
Cardi, “Money” (Produced by J. White Did It)
Lil Nas X featuring Billy Ray Cyrus, “Old Town Road” (Remix) (Produced by YoungKio)
Travis Scott featuring Drake, “Sicko Mode” Produced by Rogét Chahayed, CuBeatz, OZ, Hit-Boy & Tay Keith
DaBaby, “Suge” (Produced by Pooh Beatz & JetsonMade)

Best New Hip-Hop Artist

Lil Nas X
Megan Thee Stallion
Roddy Ricch
YBN Cordae

Best Mixtape

Jack Harlow, “Loose”
Kevin Gates, “Luca Brasi 3”
Megan Thee Stallion, “Fever”
Roddy Ricch, “Feed Tha Streets II”
Wiz Khalifa & Curren$y, “2009”
YBN Cordae, YBN Nahmir, YBN Almighty Jay, “YBN: The Mixtape”

Sweet 16: Best Featured Verse

21 Savage, “Wish Wish” (DJ Khaled featuring 21 Savage & Cardi B)
Cardi B, “Clout” (Offset featuring Cardi B)
Cardi B, “Twerk” (City Girls featuring Cardi B)
J. Cole, “A Lot” (21 Savage featuring J. Cole)
Rick Ross, “Money in the Grave” (Drake featuring Rick Ross)
Rick Ross, “What’s Free” (Meek Mill featuring Rick Ross & Jay-Z)

Impact Track

21 Savage featuring J. Cole. “A Lot”
DJ Khaled featuring Nipsey Hussle & John Legend, “Higher”
J. Cole, “Middle Child”
Kap G, “A Day Without a Mexican”
Lizzo featuring Missy Elliott, “Tempo”
Youngboy, “Never Broke Again”
I Am Who They Say I Am featuring Kevin Gates, “Quando Rondo”

DJ of the Year

Chase B
DJ Drama
DJ Envy
DJ Esco
DJ Khaled

Made-You-Look Award (Best Hip-Hop Style)

Cardi B
DJ Khaled
French Montana
Meek Mill
Rick Ross
Travis Scott

Best Hip-Hop Online Site/App

All Hip Hop
Hot New Hip Hop
The Shade Room

Hustler of the Year

Cardi B
DJ Khaled
Jay Z
Nipsey Hussle
Rick Ross
Travis Scott

Best International Flow

Falz (Nigeria)
Ghetts (U.K.P)
Kalash (France)
Little Simz (U.K.)
Nasty C (South Africa)
Sarkodie (Ghana)
Tory Lanez (Canada)


Join the conversation on social media by logging on to BET’s multiple social media platforms:

On BET.com: http://www.bet.com/shows/hip-hop-awards.html

On Twitter by using hashtag: #HipHopAwards; follow us @HipHopAwards and @BET

On Facebook by liking the fan page at facebook.com/HipHopAwards

*Note: BET “Hip Hop Awards” is a private event and tickets are not available for purchase to the public. Talent tickets are reserved for BET “Hip Hop Awards” show talent and nominees.


BET Networks, a subsidiary of Viacom Inc. (NASDAQ: VIA, VIA.B), is the nation’s leading provider of quality entertainment, music, news and public affairs television programming for the African-American audience. The primary BET channel reaches more than 90 million households and can be seen in the United States, Canada, the Caribbean, the United Kingdom and sub-Saharan Africa. BET is the dominant African-American consumer brand with a diverse group of business extensions: BET.com, a leading Internet destination for black entertainment, music, culture and news; BET HER, a 24-hour entertainment network targeting the African-American woman; BET Music Networks – BET Jams, BET Soul and BET Gospel; BET Home Entertainment; BET Live, BET’s growing festival business; BET Mobile, which provides ringtones, games and video content for wireless devices; and BET International, which operates BET around the globe.


Jesse Collins Entertainment (JCE) is a full-service television and film production company founded by entertainment industry veteran Jesse Collins. For more than a decade, the company has played an integral role in producing some of television’s most memorable moments in music entertainment including groundbreaking and award winning television programming including the BET Awards, Soul Train Awards, BET Honors, UNCF An Evening of Stars, ABFF Awards and the BET Hip Hop Awards.  On the scripted side, JCE has produced numerous shows for BET including Real Husbands of Hollywood starring Kevin Hart as well as the critically acclaimed The New Edition Story, a biopic on the boy band that aired as a 3-part mini-series.  It posted record ratings for the network and attracted nearly 30 million viewers.  It was followed by The Bobby Brown Story, which chronicled the talented but troubled singer’s exit from the popular ’80s boy band through his solo success and was the highest rated non-tentpole program on the network since The New Edition Story.  The company’s second season of American Soul, the critically-acclaimed period drama based on the untold rise of the iconic music and dance program Soul Train, will debut in 2020. Go to http://www.jessecollinsent.com/ for more information on the company.


BET “Hip Hop Awards” is an annual celebration that pays homage to a culture that changed the world while highlighting the best in hip hop music.  Year after year, BET Networks delivers the best in hip-hop for an unforgettable night of performances, cyphers and tributes honoring hip-hop legends that have and continue to make hip-hop culture a global force.

2019 Primetime Emmy Awards: presenters announced

September 11, 2019

The following is a press release from the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences:

The Television Academy and Emmy Awards telecast producers Don Mischer Productions and Done+Dusted announced the first group of talent set to present the iconic Emmy statuettes at the 71st Emmy Awards on Sunday, September 22.

The presenters include:

  • Angela Bassett* (9-1-1 and The Flood)
  • Stephen Colbert* (The Late Show with Stephen Colbert)
  • Viola Davis* (How to Get Away with Murder)
  • Michael Douglas* (The Kominsky Method)
  • Taraji P. Henson (Empire)
  • Terrence Howard (Empire)
  • Jimmy Kimmel* (Jimmy Kimmel Live)
  • Peter Krause (9-1-1)
  • Seth Meyers* (Late Night With Seth Meyers and Documentary Now!)
  • Billy Porter* (Pose)
  • Naomi Watts (The Loudest Voice)
  • Zendaya (Euphoria)
  • The cast of Game of Thrones: Alfie Allen*, Gwendoline Christie*,
    Emilia Clarke*, Peter Dinklage*, Kit Harington*, Lena Headey*, Sophie Turner*, Carice van Houten*, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau*, and Maisie Williams*

September 17, 2019 UPDATE:

More presenters have been announced for the 2019 Primetime Emmy Awards:

  • Anthony Anderson* (black-ish)
  • Ike Barinholtz (Bless the Harts)
  • Cedric the Entertainer (The Neighborhood)
  • Max Greenfield (The Neighborhood)
  • Bill Hader* (Barry)
  • Julia Louis-Dreyfus* (VEEP)
  • Cast of VEEP: Anna Chlumsky, Gary Cole, Kevin Dunn, Clea DuVall, Tony Hale, Sam Richardson, Reid Scott, Timothy Simons, Sarah Sutherland, Matt Walsh
  • Gwyneth Paltrow (The Politician)
  • Amy Poehler* (Duncanville and Russian Doll)
  • Maya Rudolph (Bless the Harts and The Good Place)
  • RuPaul* (RuPaul’s Drag Race)
  • Lilly Singh (A Little Late with Lilly Singh)
  • Ben Stiller* (Escape at Dannemora)
  • Phoebe Waller-Bridge* (Fleabag)
  • Cast of Keeping Up with the Kardashians: Kim Kardashian, Kendall Jenner, Kylie Jenner

The 71st Emmy Awards will air live from the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles on Sunday, September 22, (8:00-11:00 PM ET/5:00-8:00 PM PT) on FOX.

For more information, please visit Emmys.com. Find out Where to Watch.

*71st Emmy Awards Nominees



BET announces launch date, programming for streaming service BET+

September 9, 2019

Michelle Buteau, Jill Scott and Ryan Michelle Bathe of “First Wives Club” (Photo courtesy of BET)

The following is a press release from BET and Tyler Perry Studios:

BET Networks, a unit of  Viacom Inc. (NASDAQ: VIA, VIAB), and Tyler Perry Studios announced that, BET+, their joint venture and premier subscription video-on demand service, will launch in the U.S. on Thursday, September 19.  For $9.99 per month, BET+ will feature more than 1,000 hours of premium content, including exclusive new original programming and fan-favorite series, movies, and specials from BET Networks, as well as a host of leading African American content creators, including Tyler Perry, Tracy Oliver, Will Packer and more.

“We are thrilled to offer a streaming experience of content curated for the underserved African American audience with BET+. African Americans have a higher SVOD adoption rate than any other consumer base on the market, which is why BET+ is a natural complement of BET’s linear network, which has been and continues to be the leading home of black culture for decades,” said Scott Mills, President of BET Networks.

“In our first year, we will release a BET+ original project almost every month, adding to our lineup of deep and diverse content,” said Devin Griffin, General Manager BET+. “We’re focused on super-serving lovers of Black stories by working with top talent, and supporting fresh new voices, on both sides of the camera.”

BET+ will offer consumers an original and diverse collection of premier African American-focused dramas, sitcoms, film, stand-up comedy, and specials in the streaming universe. Itwill also be the official home of Tyler Perry’s collected works across film, television, and the stage. BET+ programming will be ad-free, with new titles added on a monthly basis.

BET+ will launch withseveral FIRSTS including:

  • First time Jill Scott will star and Tracy Oliver will executive produce a new series for BET+ with “First Wives Club.”
  • First time Will Packer will executive produce a new series for BET + with “Bigger.”
  • First time original series from Tyler Perry to premiere on a streaming service.
  • First time the beloved comedy series “Martin” will be available on a streaming a service.
  • First time the iconic BET comedy series, “Comic View” will be available on a streaming service.
  • First time Tyler Perry’s stage plays will be available to viewers on a streaming service.
The stars of “Bigger” (Photo courtesy of BET)

Premiering at launch, BET+ will feature new exclusive original series “First Wives Club” – a nine-episode scripted drama from acclaimed “Girls Trip” screenwriter Tracy Oliver – and “Bigger”– a ten-episode series from Will Packer, blockbuster hit-maker of titles such as “Ride Along” and “Think Like a Man.”

  • “First Wives Club,” the modern television remake of the classic 1996 revenge comedy starring Goldie Hawn, Bette Midler and Diane Keaton, now stars an all-star African American cast including Jill Scott, Ryan Michelle Bathe and Michelle Buteau. After neglecting their friendship, best friends Ari (Ryan Michelle Bathe), Hazel (Jill Scott) and Bree (Michelle Buteau) reunite to help each other through rough patches in their lives. Together, they navigate music superstar Hazel’s tabloid-ridden divorce, campaign manager Ari’s unsatisfying marriage and orthopedic surgeon Bree’s cheating husband.  Along the way, the women learn that as long as they have each other, there’s nothing they can’t do. All episodes will be made available at launch.
  • “BIGGER,” a half hour scripted comedy starring Tanisha Long, Angell Conwell, Rasheda Crockett, Chase Anthony, and Tristen Winger, takes place in the East Atlanta neighborhood, Little Five Points. The series follows a single-black-woman who is dealing with the threat of marriage to a boring-in-bed boyfriend and the sudden, random death of a college acquaintance. The tragedy drives her ambitious group of friends to take a deeper look at their stagnant lives, asking themselves— is there something bigger and better in life. The first three episodes of the series will be made available at launch with additional new episodes rolling out on a weekly basis.

In addition to its new original content, BET+ will stream the beloved comedy series “Martin.”

BET+ will house Tyler Perry’s box office-topping theatrical films, including films from the “Madea” series; original series and a selection of Perry’s stage plays: “Meet the Browns,” “Daddy’s Little Girls,” “Temptation: Confessions Of A Marriage Counselor,” and more.

BET+ will offer a premium selection of African American TV, movie and musical content including BET’s beloved library series, films, documentaries, and specials such as “The Bobby Brown Story,” “The New Edition Story,” “Real Husbands of Hollywood,” “The Quad,” “Being Mary Jane,” “Love & Happiness: An Obama Celebration, ” “College Hill,” “Comic View,” “Hell Date,” “Keyshia Cole: All In,” “Nellyville” “Reed Between The Lines,” “Ali: People’s Champ,” “Katrina: 10 Years Later,” “Killer Curves,”“BET Awards,” “Hip Hop Awards,” “Soul Train Awards,” “Black Girls Rock,”“Boomerang,” “Harlem Nights,” “Baby Boy,” “Belly,” “Coach Carter,” “Coming To America,” “Higher Learning,” “Losing Isaiah,”  “Poetic Justice,” “Tina Turner Live In Holland,” and more will be available at launch.

In the coming months, BET+ will also feature stand-up comedy specials from D.L. Hughley, Eddie Griffin, Nick Cannon, Sasheer Zamata (Saturday Night Live), Lil Rel (Get Out), Gina Yashere (The Daily Show), Sinbad and more.

Library series from Viacom’s Portfolio of BET sister networks, including VH1’s “Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta,” “Basketball Wives,” “T.I. & Tiny: The Family Hustle,” Comedy Central’s “Why? With Hannibal Buress”, MTV’s            “Todrick,” TV Land’s “Soul Man,” Nick @ Night’s “Instant Mom,” and more will also join the service.

BET+ will be available at launch on mobile and connected TV devices with a dedicated web experience coming later this year.

BET will continue to feature new originals and loved series, including the Tyler Perry original series, “The Oval,” and “Sistas” premiering Wednesday, October 9 on BET. BET fans will have additional access points to BET content on BET.com and the BET Now app for TV Everywhere users.  In addition, BET’s recently launched channel on Pluto TV, the leading free streaming television service in the U.S., will continue to feature hundreds of hours of classic films and box office hits from the best of black Hollywood.

For BET+ updates, exclusive social content and more follow the official hashtag #BETplus.

2019 Venice International Film Festival: ‘Joker’ wins the Golden Lion top prize

September 7, 2019

by Carla Hay

Venice Film Festival

“Joker,” director Todd Phillips’ origin story about the DC Comics villain, was awarded the Golden Lion (the top prize) at the 2019 Venice International Film Festival in Venice, Italy. “Joker” stars Joaquin Phoenix in the title role. Warner Bros. Pictures will release “Joker” on October 4, 2019. Movie critics have mostly praised “Joker,” which is a dark and violent film that is a departure for Phillips, who was previously known for directing comedies like “The Hangover” movies and “Old School.” The 76th annual Venice International Film Festival took place from August 28 to September 7, 2019.

The Grand Jury Prize (second place) went to “An Officer and a Spy,” directed by Roman Polanski. The Venice Film Festival got considerable criticism for selecting Polanski’s film to be a part of the festival. Polanski has been a fugitive of the law since 1978, when he fled to France after being convicted of raping an underage girl in the Los Angeles area.

Other winners at the 2019 Venice International Film Festival included Luca Marinelli, “Martin Eden” for Best Actor; Ariane Ascaride of “Gloria Mundi” for Best Actress; and “About Endlessness” helmer Roy Andersson for Best Director.

Here is the complete list of winners for the 2019 Venice International Film Festival:


Golden Lion: “Joker,” directed by Todd Phillips

Grand Jury Prize: “An Officer and a Spy,” directed by Roman Polanski

Silver Lion for Best Director: Roy Andersson, “About Endlessness”

Volpi Cup for Best Actress: Ariane Ascaride, “Gloria Mundi”

Volpi Cup for Best Actor:  Luca Marinelli, “Martin Eden”

Best Screenplay: “No. 7 Cherry Lane,” written by Yonfan

Special Jury Prize: “The Mafia Is No Longer What It Used to Be,” directed by Franco Maresco

Marcello Mastroianni Award for Young Performer:


Best Film: “Atlantis,” directed by Valentyn Vasyanovych

Best Director:  Théo Court, “White on White”

Special Jury Prize: “Verdict,” directed by Raymund Ribas Gutierrez

Best Actress: Marta Nieto, “Madre”

Best Actor: Sami Bouajila, “A Son”

Best Screenplay: “Back Home,” directed by Jessica Palud, Philippe Lioret and Diastème

Best Short Film: “Darling,” directed by Saim Sadiq


Luigi De Laurentiis Award for Best Debut Film: “You Will Die at Twenty,” directed by Amjad Abu Alala


Best Documentary on Cinema: “Babenco – Alguém Tem Que Ouvir O Coração E Dizer: Parou,” directed by Bárbara Paz

Best Restored Film: “Ecstasy,” directed by Gustav Machatý


Best Virtual Reality: 
“The Key,” directed by Céline Tricart

Best Virtual Reality Experience: “A Linha,” directed by Ricardo Laganaro

Best Virtual Reality Story: “Daughters of Chibok,” directed by Joel Kachi Benson

2019 NAMIC Conference: Urban One founder Cathy Hughes receiving humanitarian award

September 4, 2019

by Carla Hay

Cathy Hughes
Cathy Hughes (Photo courtesy of TV One)

The National Association for Multi-Ethnicity in Communications (NAMIC)’s 33rd Annual NAMIC Conference will bring together hundreds of media professionals committed to increasing and celebrating diversity on September 17 and September 18, 2019, at the New York Marriott Marquis in New York City. Invitation-only pre-conference sessions will take place on September 16. Urban One founder/chair Cathy Hughes will receive the Mickey Leland Humanitarian Achievement Award, the event’s highest honor. Hughes will receive her award during the NAMIC Annual Awards Luncheon on September 18.

Urban One, formerly known as Radio One, together with its subsidiaries, is the largest diversified media company that primarily targets black Americans and urban consumers in the United States. The company owns TV One, Cleo TV, and owns or operates 57 broadcast stations in 15 urban markets in the United States. Through its controlling interest in Reach Media Inc., Urban One  operates syndicated programming, including “The Tom Joyner Morning Show,” “Russ Parr Morning Show,” “Rickey Smiley Morning Show,” “Get Up Morning! With Erica Campbell,” “DL Hughley Show,” “Ed Lover Show,” “Willie Moore Jr. Show,” “Nightly Spirit with Darlene McCoy” and “Reverend Al Sharpton Show.” In addition to its radio and television broadcast assets, Urban One owns iOne Digital and the branded content agency One Solution.

Hughes co-founded Radio One in 1980. When the company went public in 1999, she became the first African American woman to head a publicly traded company. She spent most of her early career in urban radio, and she is credited with creating the “Quiet Storm” radio format.

Also at the 2019 NAMIC Conference: On September 17, Michael Esser (Cox Comminications CEO) and Michael Powell (NCTA president/CEO), who are both honorary NAIMC co-chairs, will do an interview session moderated by Cox Communications VP of regulatory affairs Joiava Philpott, who is a NAMIC chair.

In addition, former Republican National Committee chair Michael Steele, who is currently a MSNBC contributing analyst and Brown University faculty fellow, will give the L. Patrick Mellon Mentorship Program Luncheon keynote speech on September 17. Another highlight of the event on September 17 will be the “Cleo Speaks” panel with April Reign (host of Cleo TV’s “Cleo Speaks” and creator of the #OscarsSoWhite hashtag) and TV One/Cleo TV general manager Michelle Rice. And on September 18, the annual Startup Pitch Competition returns, with entrepreneurs pitching their business company ideas to compete for a cash prize. Comcast/NBCUniversal is the presenting sponsor for this year’s Startup Pitch competition.


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